No white Christmas? Environment Canada predicts 'green' holiday
Pedestrians are framed by a canopy of trees as snow falls in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TORONTO -- Though it’s still too early to say with certainty, most Canadians are likely to have a green Christmas this year, according to Environment Canada.
And that could be the new normal, said senior climatologist Dave Phillips.
“The trend is towards greener Christmases,” he told CTVNews.ca on Tuesday, adding that the weather could still change on a dime. The most accurate forecasts for Dec. 25 won’t come until Sunday or Monday, but there are no active weather systems on the horizon right now, he said.
“If you’ve got a white Christmas now I think you’re probably going to hold it,” he said. In Canada, a “white Christmas” means 2 cm of snow or more, according to Environment Canada, not the “thin and scanty” snow cover seen in many areas.
In Eastern Canada, the odds are most areas won’t see more than 2 cm on Christmas Day, he said. In Ontario, some lake effect snow could hold in areas like Goderich and Muskoka, but flurries won’t be enough to keep snow on the ground in Toronto. In Western Canada and the southern Prairies, it will be “touch and go” as well, said Phillips. Large swaths of the country will definitely see snow.
“Anything north of Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton -- hey, you’re guaranteed a white Christmas,” he said.
The silver lining is that holiday travelling could be smooth sailing, but increasingly green Christmases are perhaps the simplest reminder of climate change, he said. In some areas of the country 50 years ago, there was an 80 per cent chance of a white Christmas. Those same areas are more like 65 per cent today.
“We are the snowiest country in the world -- I think we’re losing it,” he said. “We’re not as white as we used to be. We’re not as cold as we used to be. The one season that has truly gotten warmer is our winter season.”